Monday, January 30, 2012

family favorite: chicken pot pie

Here in the Mid-Atlantic the winter seems loooong.  January and February are my two least favorite months, weather-wise.  The days are cold, really cold, and windy.  We don't see a lot of bright sunny days and if we do it is usually too cold to go outside and play.  So this time of year I turn to comfort food.  I make a lot of soups and other meals that remind me of my childhood.  One of my favorite meals is  Chicken Pot Pie. 

I got this recipe years ago from my mom, who adapted it from a recipe she got from a friend.  I have tweaked my mom's recipe and just love how easy and flavorful this Chicken Pot Pie is.  In fact, it is my go to recipe.  When I sign up to make a meal for someone 9 times out of 10 I bring this meal.  The only time I vary it is in the summer months.  I have actually had requests from husbands for me to make this meal for them when they realize I'm scheduled to bring food for their family.  And while I like to think I'm a good cook, this recipe is just so easy that anyone can make it.

Chicken Pot Pie

The Ingredients

2 Cups cooked, shredded or diced chicken.  I usually use chicken that I have left over from a whole chicken or I cook it in stock using this method.  But I have also used rotisserie chicken in a pinch.
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 Cups frozen peas and carrots.  You can also use a large can of peas and carrots, but I try not to use canned vegetables because of the high sodium factor and they are the least like fresh out of all your options. 
1/2  - 1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup flour
1 to 1 1/2 Cups chicken stock or broth
1 pie crust.  You can totally use homemade if you have it but in our house we use the store bought kind

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In a large pan saute onions and celery in butter over medium heat, until onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes)
3. Add flour and spices, whisk until combined. 
4. Add chicken broth to pan and whisk or stir well.  I start with less broth and add more as I stir it, you don't want your pot pie to be too runny when it is finished cooking, so I always add more as I go.  Cook until it thickens and begins to bubble / boil.
5. Stir in chicken and peas & carrots.  Stir until combined. 
6. Taste at this point and adjust your spices and chicken broth if needed.
7. Remove from heat and spoon into pie plate or casserole dish.
8. Cover with pie crust.  Crimping the edges so it is completely covered.  Cut an X in top to vent.
9. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes, until crust is fully cooked and light brown.

- If you are making this to bring to someone I usually bake it until the crust is just done.  This way it won't be overdone when they reheat it.
- Since this is the meal I usually make for others, I go to our local party store and buy the metal 'to go' pie plates.  They are open stock and cost about $0.65 each (It is totally worth it to locate a party supply store near you that sells these items if you are taking meals to others or maybe just making freezer meals for your family.  In the grocery store these pans will cost you about $2 each).  This way, there is no worry about returning dishes or anything else for the new mom or family to worry about.
- I have also made the 'filing' and frozen it in a bag or pie plate.  Just defrost in fridge overnight and continue with remaining steps.
- If you make it in advance and then cook it later you will need to adjust cooking time.  It usually takes about 45 - 50 minutes to cook it if it comes out of the fridge.

I realize looking at these pictures why I'm not a food blogger.  In the first picture I didn't include the shredded chicken and I totally forgot to take a picture of the fully baked pie.  Oh well.

I serve this with a salad and rolls.  My favorite salad is a Caesar Salad.  I like the pairing of the garlicky dressing with the mild but flavorful taste of the Chicken Pot Pie.  I make my Caesar Dressing using the following recipe that I adapted from this Cooking Light Recipe.

Creamy Caesar Dressing


1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
2 T vinegar, I use red wine or rice wine
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 T water
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Drop garlic through opening of blender or food processor while on.  Process for about 15 seconds until minced.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended.
3. Taste and adjust amounts as necessary.  I sometimes find I need to add more mayo or water to get the flavor or consistency that I enjoy.
4. Pour into glass jar and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  I like to make this the night before, if I can, so the flavors meld but you don't have too.

This is a great dressing to have on hand and I frequently double the recipe so I can use it multiple times during the week.

So that's one of my favorite comfort food meals to make.  Please be warned that if you are local and I sign up to make you a meal, this is what you are going to get {smile}. 

What is one of your go to meals to make this time of year?


1 comment:

LisaD said...

Ooooh I can't wait to try this! Thank you for sharing!